Wednesday, October 22, 2008

"Never Special," Encounter, pt. 3, 406 words

"What," she asks from one of the exam rooms, where she's giving some kid a check-up.

"I need to go. I feel really sick." Not a lie, but not how it's normally used.

"Alright," she says. "Annie and I can handle the phone and desk. I hope you feel better."

"Thanks. I hope so too."

I hurry outside, and throw myself into the air as soon as there's clear sky above me. I crack the concrete with the force of my desperate leap for altitude, but can't stop to think about it.

This is my fault. This is all my fault. I can't get the thought out of my head as I fly. I was his friend. I talked with him, gave him advice, encouraged him when he was feeling down. I even wanted to... I'm so glad right now that I'm flying, so nobody can see my embarrassment.

What the hell was I thinking? Oh Jesus, I helped a villain get started. And now he's hurt people, challenged the world. Challenged me, I realize. He always hated how indifferent I was to my powers, and now... Now, I suspect, the only way I'll be able to see and talk to him is as a hero facing down a villain. He's a wanted man now, and anyone might know his face. Coffee is just out of the question. I'll have to become a hero for him, claim him as "mine" and take advantage of the gentleman's agreement not to get between a hero and her nemesis.

"Practice nemeses," we'd called each other, like it was something we could set aside later. God. I'd laugh, if this whole thing didn't make me want to cry.

I arc up, up over the skyscrapers here in downtown Grey, looking for the signs of Nefarious's passage. I can see the police helicopter from here, still following him. A sudden updraft blows my long skirt up, nearly tangling it around me. This won't do, I decide, and -- hesitating for just a moment -- leave the skirt hanging from a nearby building's antenna. I can pick it up later, if it's still there.

There are plenty of other heroines who look like they fight in their underwear. I'm just glad I don't wear anything lacy or revealing, just regular white women's briefs. I wish I had my costume on instead, but where would I have put it? Under my clothes? No.

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